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Skip the Surveillance By Opting Out of Face Recognition At Airports

Government agencies and airlines have ignored years of warnings from privacy groups and Senators that using face recognition technology on travelers would massively violate their privacy. Now, the passengers are in revolt as well, and they’re demanding answers. Last week, a lengthy exchange on Twitter between a traveler who was concerned about her privacy and a spokesperson for the airline JetBlue went viral, and many of the questions asked by the traveler and others were the same ones that we’ve posed to Customs and Border Protection (CBP) officials: Where did you get my data? How is it protected? Which airports…

Microsoft colluding with communist Chinese military to build AI systems that will execute civilians who resist government rule

Microsoft has been working with a Chinese military-run university on researching artificial intelligence that could be used for censorship and surveillance, according to a shocking new report from Financial Times. A series of scientific studies were co-authored by researchers from Microsoft Research Asia and scientists associated with China’s National University of Defense Technology (NUDT). This apparent relationship between Microsoft and a Chinese military university is now giving rise to a tidal wave of concerns. A number of experts have spoken out about the potential risks of U.S.-China academic relations, but there are also serious red flags about the artificial intelligence…

Cameras to watch you from grocery store shelves…

Eyeing that can of soda in the supermarket cooler? Or maybe you’re craving a pint of ice cream? A camera could be watching you. But it’s not there to see if you’re stealing. These cameras want to get to know you and what you’re buying. It’s a new technology being trotted out to retailers, where cameras try to guess your age, gender or mood as you walk by. The intent is to use the information to show you targeted real-time ads on in-store video screens. Companies are pitching retailers to bring the technology into their physical stores as a way…

Airline passenger pissed because Jet Blue used a face scan and not her ticket or passport to board the plane…

A conversation between a passenger and an airline has gone viral, largely because people find it intensely creepy. MacKenzie Fegan went to the airport last week. As with normal flights, she was expecting at some point to present her boarding card in order to get on her plane. However, she found all she had to do was look at a camera, and at no point was asked for her pass. As convenient as that sounds, she had questions, which she put to the airline, JetBlue, in a now-viral thread. Fegan had several pressing follow-up questions, such as “how” and “who exactly has…

Google’s Sensorvault Can Tell Police Where You’ve Been

Do you know where you were five years ago? Did you have an Android phone at the time? It turns out Google might know—and it might be telling law enforcement. In a new article, the New York Times details a little-known technique increasingly used by law enforcement to figure out everyone who might have been within certain geographic areas during specific time periods in the past. The technique relies on detailed location data collected by Google from most Android devices as well as iPhones and iPads that have Google Maps and other apps installed. This data resides in a Google-maintained…

Police are now taking roadside blood samples to catch impaired drivers

It was about 6:30 on a Friday night in January when Phoenix Police Det. Kemp Layden pulled over a white Jeep Cherokee that was speeding and weaving in and out of its lane. The 47-year-old driver spoke slowly, his eyes were red and watery, and his pupils were dilated. The inside of the Jeep reeked of marijuana, and the driver failed a field sobriety test, which includes walking heel-to-toe and standing on one leg. He told the officer he had smoked marijuana a few hours earlier and taken a prescription sedative the night before, police say. The man passed a…

Let’s start demanding hardware “off” switches for webcams and smart phone cameras/mics

Where’s my webcam’s off switch? Have you ever noticed that your webcam doesn’t have an “off” switch? I looked on Amazon, and I couldn’t find any webcams for sale that had a simple on/off switch. When I thought I found one, but it turned out just to have a light that turns on when the camera is in use, and off when not—not a physical switch you can press or slide. The “clever” solution is supposed to be webcam covers (something Mark Zuckerberg had a hand in popularizing); you can even get a webcam (or a laptop) with such a…

US facial recognition will cover 97 percent of departing airline passengers within four years

The Department of Homeland Security says it expects to use facial recognition technology on 97 percent of departing passengers within the next four years. The system, which involves photographing passengers before they board their flight, first started rolling out in 2017, and was operational in 15 US airports as of the end of 2018. The facial recognition system works by photographing passengers at their departure gate. It then cross-references this photograph against a library populated with facesimages from visa and passport applications, as well as those taken by border agents when foreigners enter the country. The aim of the system…

Police Use Drones To Spy On Suspicious People At “Potential Crime Scenes”

For years, law enforcement has been claiming that drones will only be used for natural disasters, crime scene investigations, car accidents and rescue operations. That is the bill of goods, being sold to the public but it is all a lie. A perfect example of how law enforcement promises the public one thing and after time passes, uses it for something else is taking place in Texas at the Memorial Villages Police Department (MVPD). Two years ago, Click2Houston reported how the MVPD claimed that they would only use drones for “better emergency response during disasters.” They also used police officer and UAV…